MY LIFE AS A LOSER – How to Develop Wisdom from Failure

My life as a loser

My life as a loser                                                                             

My life as a loser has been one of intense pain, disappointments and also many rich experiences that only failures could have brought. Although, painful at the time of the ordeal, the wisdom, understanding and resounding experiences gained are unquantifiable.

My life as a loser has been a blessing rather a curse, because it is the greatest factor that has helped shape my destiny and made me who I am today.

                                                                           LIFE AS AN EXPERIMENT

We are like a scientist who spend many harrowing hours in the laboratory, trying to answer and find understanding to life’s mysteries, break new frontiers in human development, as well as self-advancement in the field of research and learning, thereby living his footprint on the sands of time.

The usefulness of life comes from our ability to go out and work assiduously and diligently to make life counts. No one has a framework or fore-knowledge of whether our quest would lead to a desirable destination and be successful or if failure would be our lot. From the beginning, middle, and the end, everything is an experiment of sought. Whether you are starting a career, a new relationship, embarking on a journey or migrating to a new country, all are experiments. In my life time, I have seen seemingly beautiful relationship ends in legal tussle. I have seen people dropped out of college to go experiment on a new career part, businesses failing and the owners going bankrupt. I have also seen people migrating to other countries in search for the proverbial greener pastures, only for the move to end in disaster. These goes to show that they are no guarantees in life. However, life they say favours the bold. The one who will show up every day, follow tested principles, put in the time, persevere and continuously put in their best effort as they march onward through the journey of life. In all these you will meet and have to face yourself in the battle field. You may have to reinvent yourself many times over before success is unearth for you. Whether you bulk or stay is up to you. Nothing is cast on stone. We can’t stay at the harbour and know whether a particular voyage would be a success or failure, until you actually embark on it and face the vicissitude at sea. If you fail at some point it doesn’t really matter if you quit to try again tomorrow. All, I mean everything in life are all experiments.

   MY LIFE AS A LOSER IS ABOUT THE JOURNEY MORE THAN THE DESTINATION

Fulfilling and achieving a goal is ecstatic and joyful to behold. But it is the process you had to go through that horned your skills and prepares you for the dawn of the final day. Every one that has had to achieve a goal or quest will tell you that the obstacles, tribulation and temptations they overcome along the way increases their capacity to meet the challenges and exigencies on the journey. Every step, decision and earned effort you put in a business, relationship, or an adventure is unfolding your inner qualities, strength, and imagination. If you meet with failure and obstacle, you would have to dig deep and mop up resources to circumvent the challenges in other to make progress, or at most you pivot and try a new path to keep moving forward. In the process you become a better person, skilled and better able to take on challenges.  In as much you are still here on earth; you would keep solving difficult riddles and keep asking each time ‘’where does this fits in’’.

Some years ago, I spent 6 months in training learning about the reagent and lab. Equipment business. I gave it my all and soon gained proficiency in the business, even though it was a tough business to be in because of the competition.

I spent over 8 months, which is equivalent to a session in a University trying to cultivate friendship and win the trust of Heads of department and procurement officers in many departments. This is because I want to be the preferred winner of laboratory supplies when the incoming session commenced. I must say I did win their support and gained trust. However, I went to sleep thinking this was a done deal and so I backpedalled. The story changed when it was time to get the inventory for supplies. The parties became aloof with some Professors avoiding me. To cut a long story short, I ended up not getting any contract from the Institution. I would later learn the reason why I was overlooked for the contract even though I was eminently qualified, since I have met all the requirement of the University.

Unbeknown to me, the Institution had been in a fierce battle to elect a new Vice Chancellor, since the tenor of the present VC was coming to an inevitable end. 5 qualified tenured Professors were jostling for the coveted position and only one person must be the VC. All these took place during the prior academic year. The resumption of the new VC coincided with the new academic year. During the electioneering campaign process, many persons from within and outside the academia were for against the contestants and they were varied interest from politicians, the Clergy, civil service, and the traditional institutions. When the eventual winner was announced, and resumed office as the Vice Chancellor, there was a mild check-up.  He started by placing loyalist in key positions and compensating the cronies or persons who supported him to ascend office. And since I didn’t support the VC or know anyone who did, I lost out in the equation. The friendship I built over time did not help me win the contract. This marked another big loss in my foray in life and in business. Did I regret the time I spent building association with the wrong set of people? NO. Although I lost out, but I learnt important lessons and skills which I have used many times over in other deals. I came out a better person even though I didn’t make a dime in that institution.

LESSONS: The process is far important than the destination (it’s ultimately more about the journey than a destination)

Nevertheless, my life as a loser has many twists and turns. When you have failed many times as I have done. Failing and losing stopped becoming a big deal. You can read my note- How to Bounce Back from Failure Quickly. 

You develop the capacity to go anywhere and do whatever it takes to survive. You are now armed with requisite experiences for success and if you fail again it won’t kill you but make you stronger. Life calls for bravely, the timid and slothful has no place in living the extraordinary life.

 

 LEARN NEW THINGS QUICKLY

 Life is about growth and change. To grow, as everything in life does, you need the capacity to learn from all life. Both the good, the bad and the ugly has something to teach us about ourselves and about the act of living. Today we have a large amount of information at our finger tips, what you do with this information is up to you. The right information with appropriate action can catapult your life to greatness, while the wrong information and wrong use of it can make you a disaster. The difference is in your attitude and the power of right discrimination and the use of discretion. All of these call for self-discipline and detachment from ego and vanities. As a person you need to empty your cup each day. This means you must be hungry for knowledge while learning how to apply the acquired knowledge in your day to day living. While this may not eliminate your loss, it can help increase your odd of winning. 

                                                                              THIS IS GOOD

I read a story somewhere, which I will titled ‘’This is Good’. I also do not know the source of the story. It is about a king’s love for gaming (hunting). From time to time he would gather his servants and they would travel deep into the wild in search for game. In one of such trips he had an accident which resulted in the loss of a finger. All his servants but one gathered around the king to tend to his injury and render their sympathy for this ill fate that has befell him. After the injury had been tended to and they were preparing to return back home the lone servants who did not give his sympathy to the master approached the master and say to him master this is good. What audacity? The king was furious and went berserk with anger and ordered the lynching and subsequent imprisonment of the servant. A while later when the king was healed enough, he called his servant again for another sojourn in the wild. However, this time they went further than usual and encountered a tribe of Cannibals. The king and his men were overpowered and tied to a stake waiting to be eaten. However, as they were being prepared to be slaughtered, they found out the missing finger of the king. In that land it was a taboo to eat an incomplete person. This caused the king to be released while his servant met their fate in the hands of the cannibals. After weeks in the forest the king eventually got to his kingdom. He called for jubilation and celebration for his life. After the celebration was over, in his quite reflection he suddenly remembered the prisoner and immediately ordered he be released and brought before him. When the servant was brought before the king the king knelt down and apologized to the servant. The servant told the master not to apologize because it was a good thing that he imprisoned him. He would have been killed with the others if he was not in prison. The king promoted the servant and made him an adviser to the kingdom.

From this story, you can see that we can make every moment a turning point of change and also why it is necessary to stay open and learn from all situations we meet in life and draw the lessons that would help us in our next goal.

  DEVELOP THE CAPACITY TO DO WORK THAT IS GREAT

One lesson I learn in my life as a loser is to carry out any task my hand finds do and do it well as though my life depended on it. If you put in your best at any task, even if you fail at it, you are still a winner. This is because you are enriched from the personal satisfaction of knowing that you gave your best. Don’t ever fall into the trap of taking shortcut or shortcutting the system. This will surely come back to hurt you if you try. Like every habit you can develop the ability to do great work each time. Remember as humans, they are going to be good and bad days. When you hit the bad days, do not see it as an opportunity to short-changed yourself. Instead take a rest, regroup and come back stronger. A popular cliché we hear often says, there is dignity in labour and honesty is the best policy. How many of us still practice these tenets in a world where we are steep in the scarcity mindset and want to grab opportunities for ourselves and families.

  YOU CAN’T CHANGE YOUR PAST, BUT YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR FUTURE

A former friend of mine I will call Jeremy encountered series of financial reverses due to poor decisions and youthful exuberances. Subsequent experiences tore him into shreds. This was made worst when instead of looking for solutions and ways to dig himself out of the hole, he took to negative vices as a way to stage a comeback. Often, you would hear him lamenting about the past and how he lived life on top of the world. He allowed the vicissitude of life to beat him into a pop. He failed to see that the process of losing is part of the big picture of winning. He took too much of a bad thing too far. Although in life anything is possible, but I doubt if Jeremy can dig deep to rise up again from the ashes of self-defeat.

The only constant in life is change. And this can be both the good and the bad. The real champions know however, that to succeed you must embrace failure and learn the lessons quickly.

The past is gone for ever and we can only revisit it occasionally to glean the lesson it brought us. The future is not formed, it is an empty void. Our present thoughts and actions in the moment determines it and it is constantly shaping our future. You may want to control the thought you permit in your mind. Nevertheless, you can read my note – 3 Reasons why you should dare to be different to gain perspective on how to make your life count.

My life as a loser has been one of adventure.  I have had many disappointing moments and pain and I have acquired timeless gift of wisdom and inner strength, as well as inner peace. Through it all I always emerge unscathed.

                                                                       DARE TO DREAM AGAIN

Life without dreams is like a bird with a broken wing, it can’t fly said Dan Pena. By now I am sure you know that no one is immune to a life free of obstacles. So, living your life to avoid it is a waste of time. Jeremy from the previous section would have given himself a chance of a comeback if only he can dare to dream again. When life hits you stan up and say hit me again. Always create new ways to tackle your challenges and hold the torchlight of hope high. Dare to dream big dreams and have the courage to go out and make the dream becomes reality.

                                                                                    KEEP THE FAITH

Draw the lessons from the events and circumstances of life and use the experiences as a spur to keep going. I don’t know how long it will take to start winning. It may take a life time of work. You may find success and arrive at your destination sooner. I am not God. All I can say is keep the faith and keep carrying on.

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